[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/04/rolls.1.jpg caption="Amy Yeager on her way to dinner"]
ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Missouri (CNN)– With all the things that the presidential and vice presidential candidates are throwing at each other as Election Day grows closer, we may have found the perfect place for them to spend a few hours.
We first took note of it by chance. From the window as we crossed Missouri, we were seeing any number of billboards for restaurants and hotels– most of them chain operations. They barely registered.
But then a sign flashed by that made us turn around and try to make certain we’d seen it.
The sign– we thought– advertised a restaurant as being “The Only Home of Throwed Rolls.”
Not “thrown rolls,” which would have been odd enough– but “throwed rolls.“
We talked about it for a few seconds, but there was no chance to go back and see if our eyes had been deceiving us, because we had to get to our destination.
We couldn’t get it out of our minds.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/04/grouprolls.jpg caption="Chris Nowak, Jordan Place, and Bill Schneider enjoy the shade in Cape Girardeau, MO"]
We pulled off the highway in Cape Girardeau. Bill Schneider was due to do a live shot from the side of the bus. Election Express producer Josh Rubin, driver Dale Fountain, and engineers Jordan Placie and Chris Nowak prepared for the telecast, and I walked a few hundred feet away to do some important taking of the national pulse.
Actually, what I did was walk a few hundred feet away to go to a Steak 'n Shake. And I had barely ordered my two-flavor split-down-the-middle milkshake when my phone rang, and it was Josh, urging me to hurry back to the bus.
A woman, seeing the bus, had pulled off the highway to get a closer look. Josh and the crew had asked her where she had been heading.
She had been heading to get some throwed rolls.
“My friend and I are driving two and a half hours from St. Louis,” she said. Her name was Amy Yeager, she was 35, and she said she made the long drive to the throwed-rolls restaurant several times a year.
“The food is really good,” she said. “And they throw the rolls at you instead of serving them the regular way.”
Right across the room– that’s how she said they threw them. “Pretty hard,” she said. “Overhand, like a baseball. If you want a roll, you stick your hand up, and someone from the restaurant fires it at you.”
What if the thrower misses?
“He just throws another one,“ she said. “You have to pay attention when you‘re eating. I got hit on the side of the head with a throwed roll once."
The restaurant, she said, is called Lambert’s Café, in the town of Sikeston, Missouri. We said we found it fairly eerie that, of all the people we would run into after wondering to ourselves about throwed rolls, we would meet her– a pilgrim on the road in pursuit of throwed rolls.
Which is when she and we got the idea that the presidential and vice presidential candidates, with all the accusations and vitriol they’re throwing at each other every day, might do well to stop in at a place where the throwing is part of the appeal. It might cure them of it, or at least put what they’re throwing in perspective.
Amy Yeager then said something about this year’s presidential campaign that made more sense than much of what appears on front pages of newspapers or is seen on television screens. It’s serious enough not to be mixed in with this throwed-rolls tale, so if you’ll be kind enough to come back Sunday, we will relate what she had to tell us.